Wednesday, February 24, 2010

45 Talkin' Heads

TITLE: Alternate Reality
EMOTION: Connection

The characters are in a coffee shop on their first sort-of date. The underwear reference has to do with some photos they took earlier in the day. The narrator, Lizzy, has amnesia and generally avoids the past. Chase will eventually help her come to terms with it.

“What’s with the camera?” I prompt before Chase turns the conversation toward me. “You in photography class or something?”

“Yup and yearbook.”

I lean forward. “Please tell me you’re going to put our underwear photos in the activities section of the yearbook.”

Chase nearly spits his coffee. “Oh man, I don’t think I could get away with it. No,” he shakes his head. “I’m keeping those for myself.”

“Oh, for your personal activities, eh?”

“Wha-? Oh! No. I didn’t mean. Well…” He looks up at the ceiling and sighs.

I laugh. “You talked straight into that one."

"You're right. I did" He smiles and scoots his coffee cup around in a small circle. "I so did."

"We’re never going to finish our coffee if we can’t stop laughing. Serious question now. Why photography?”

A whimsical look replaces his smile. “You know that feeling when you pick up an old picture? It’s like you’re transported back to a memory you’ve forgotten?”

I shake my head. "No, actually." Doesn’t he know?

“Oh,” Chase looks horrified. “Your...I forgot. I’m sorry. I didn’t think.”

I’m amazed someone could forget. I thought my amnesia was a constant source of mystery, amusement, and awkwardness on campus. “No, it’s okay. Go on.”

He studies me a moment then says, “Well, I love that. To know that I’m creating that future-feeling, preserving memories I can surprise myself with later. It’s just, yeah; it’s a passion.”

“That sounds really nice,” I admit, and I realize it kind of does.


  1. I enjoyed this and, for the most part it sounded really natural.

    The only thing was the "I'm keeping it for myself" thing sounded a little forced. I mean, he could definitely "talk straight into it," but I think he talked too far in to be believable. Does that make sense?

  2. I'm not sure why, if they've made it to first sort-of date and taking photos together, she wouldn't already know he's in photography class.

    "You're right. I did" <--missing a period.

    Also, you say they can't stop laughing, but they didn't seem to be laughing enough to warrant that comment.

    I really like Chase's explanation of his photography. That's great characterization and I also think that's where you nail the connection emotion. That part made the scene for me, although it's well-written in general.

    Good work!

  3. This reads really well. I haven't really heard anyone use the expression "You talked straight into that one" so I had to think about that before I understood what she was saying. And I know he smiles there but I don't think they would be outright laughing at that point. Great comments about the way Chase feels about photography.

  4. I love this. It flows so well.

    My only twich was the 'horrifed'. Maybe it works in context, but it seems too strong for the wistful tone of the rest of their conversation. Maybe 'embarresed' instead?

  5. I definitely got the connection feeling when I read this entry. Great job. I agree with the couldn't stop laughing comment above. Good dialogue flow, though. Great job!

  6. The tense really disturbs me. Distracts me. I can't concentrate on the dialogue because of it.
    Good luck with carrying it off for a whole novel. It's going to be a very difficult thing to do.

  7. The conversation was believable and easy to follow.

    Possibly the use of present tense is explained later (or earlier), and I won't comment since I don't know the entire story, but it can be disconcerting.

    This sample shows a good beat and provides a visual I enjoy.

  8. I think the dialogue here is good. They sound like teens, and I got the sense that they were connecting.

    A couple things threw me. The "I prompt before Chase turns the conversation toward me" was one. I had to reread to get what you meant. She's not really prompting him, she's asking. I don't think you need it at all. I would rephrase so rather than referencing what she just said, she just mentions that she wants to keep him from turning the conversation to her.

    Also, I think you mean wistful instead of whimsical. Otherwise, great job!

  9. This sounded very natural. The present tense usually annoys me, because it often comes across as pretentious, but here I think I get it. If the MC has trouble remembering the past, it makes a kind of sense that she has learned to think in the present.
    The connection between these characters feels good. It feels like MC is connecting with Chase on a level she didn't expect.
    I notice that you never use tags (He said, she said, etc) except the one "I admit" at the end. It works here, but don't be afraid to use them to clarify meaning. I've seen this kind of novel try to outsmart itself, and end up hard to read.